Murray Edelman's Use Of Symbols In Politics

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3. Murray Edelman argues that symbols carry special political significance. What does he mean by this? Give examples to illustrate your argument. Select ONE contemporary political movement, identify one or more symbols that are associated with it and describe the struggle that it wages over these symbols: Symbols help organize ideas, values, and experiences. But, one must be careful with the symbols because they often have unexpected meaning. Symbols play very important in politics. There are two sides of symbolic politics: the politics of symbols and the symbolic aspects of politics. The politics of symbols refers to the creation, elaboration, and the use of symbols for political purposes. The symbols of politics are a subset of all cultural…show more content…
He describes the importance of symbols in politics, not just about facts and voting, but also about emotions that are embedded in symbols. For example, The Statues of Liberty stands for the values of the individual and liberty. The American flag is just a piece of cloth, but it signifies the national pride of Americans. Besides symbolic materials, there are several ways to show symbols that carry special political significance: using heroes and rituals, making tensions over public celebrations and telling stories through…show more content…
For example, gay people asked to march in an official St. Patrick's Day parade, and the plane that dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima was placed on exhibit at the Smithsonian. In each case, dispute emerged over which values of events would be elevated in a public ritual, celebration or commemoration. Another way to show symbols of politics is telling stories through exhibits. One of the example is the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. This place has become a sacred place in the US. When creating an exhibit of this sort museum curators select some aspects of the story; discarding others. But, being "silent" on others, curators emphasize a distinct interpretation of the events. The message that come through the Vietnam War Memorial is one that brave young soldiers fought to defend and protect their country. Edelman also say that politicization is the creation of a state mind about what is personal or private and what is subject to open discussion and public authority. Symbols are sometimes words or statements, but sometimes we fight over symbols that are actually items. When the terrorists attacked The World Trade Center, a symbol of global American capitalism, in 2001, the public-private boundary was shifted, at the same time, for terriorists, it represented something very important because an attack on that specific building with all

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